December 31, 1837, West Chester, Pennsylvania.

April 10, 1899, Chester, Pennsylvania.

Rural Cemetery, Chester, Pennsylvania.


Sweney’s musical gift showed itself at an early age. While still a boy, he began to teach music in the public schools and lead Sunday school performances. At age 19, he started studying music in earnest under Professor Bauer, a celebrated German teacher. He took violin and piano lessons, and about this time became a choir leader. He was also in constant demand for children’s concerts and for conducting glee clubs.

At age 22, Sweney was called to teach in Dover, Delaware. When the American civil war broke out, he took charge of the band of the Third Delaware Regiment. After the war, Sweney became Professor of Music at the Pennsylvania Military Academy in West Chester, Pennsylvania. He worked there over 25 years, and received the degrees of Bachelor of Music (1876) and Doctor of Music (1886).

Sweney composed music for more than 1,000 Gospel songs, and collaborated on many collections. His works include:

  1. Sing On
  1. Adopted
  2. All Glory Be Thine
  3. All Is Ready
  4. Almost
  5. Arch Street
  6. As the Bird Flies Home
  7. At the Breaking of the Day
  8. Attainment
  9. Awake! Awake!
  10. Awake, Awake! O Heart of Mine!
  11. Awake, O Zion’s Daughter
  12. Balm in Secret Prayer
  13. Banff
  14. Bells Are Calling, The
  15. Berkeley
  16. Bermuda
  17. Beulah Land
  18. Blest, Blest Forever
  19. Blood Is All My Plea, The
  20. Bratislava
  21. Break Forth, O Joyful Heart
  22. By and By
  23. By the Grace of God We’ll Meet
  24. Calvary
  25. Close Thy Heart No More
  26. Come Boldly to the Throne of Grace
  27. Come in, O Blessèd One
  28. Coming to Jesus
  29. Conquering Now and Still to Conquer
  30. Côte d’Ivoire
  31. Cova da Iria
  32. Cugnaux
  33. Dragicevic
  34. Endure to the End
  35. Everlasting Song, The
  36. Fairer Than the Morning
  37. Falter Not
  38. From the Cross to the Crown
  39. Glamorganshire
  40. Glory
  41. Go Work in the Vineyard
  42. God’s Holy Church Shall Triumph
  43. Going Home Rejoicing
  44. Golden Key
  45. Good News
  46. Great Judgment Day, The
  47. Guatemala
  48. Hamsher High
  49. Handful of Leaves, A
  50. Happy Tidings
  51. Have Compassion, Lord, on Me!
  52. He Feedeth His Flock
  53. He Has Come
  54. He Saves Me
  55. He Saves Me Through and Through
  56. He Set the Joy-Bells Ringing
  57. He Will Gather the Wheat
  58. He’ll Do Better for You
  59. Hillsdale
  60. Hilton Head
  61. His Child Forevermore
  62. His Love Passeth Knowledge
  63. Holy, Holy, Is What the Angels Sing
  64. Hour of Prayer, The
  65. How Oft We Are There
  66. I Have a Friend
  67. I Have Entered Beulah Land
  68. I Live but in Thee
  69. I Shall Have Wings
  70. I Will Shout His Praise in Glory
  71. In the Morning
  72. Is It Nothing to You?
  73. It Is Good to Be Here
  74. Jesus Is Passing By
  75. Jesus, Keep Me Near Thee
  76. Jesus Leads
  77. Jesus Will Welcome Me There
  78. Joyfully Sing
  79. King’s Highway, The
  80. Knock of the Nail-Piercèd Hand, The
  81. Lake Tahoe
  82. Launch Out
  83. Lost Are Coming Home, The
  84. Lost but Found
  85. Medan
  86. Midnight Cry, The
  87. More About Jesus
  88. Morning Draweth Nigh, The
  89. Music of the Angels
  90. My Rest
  91. My Savior First of All
  92. My Soul Shouts Glory
  93. New Song, The
  94. No Cross for Me?
  95. No Voice but Thine
  96. Not Now, but By and By
  97. Notre Dame
  98. O Blessèd Word
  99. O Church of God, Arise!
  100. O Fly to Him
  101. O Sinner, Come Home
  102. On Let Us Go
  103. On the Hallelujah Line
  104. Only a Beam of Sunshine
  105. Only Once You Pass This Way
  106. Onward, Ye Pilgrims
  107. Out in the Sunshine
  108. Out on the Desert
  109. Palm Springs
  110. Peace to My Soul
  111. Petersburg
  112. Phares
  113. Phinehas
  114. Praise and Magnify Our King
  115. Praise, Praise His Name
  116. Precious Moments
  117. Press On, Press On, Ye Workers
  118. Rainbow Round the Throne, The
  119. Redeemed, and with the Price of Blood
  120. Rest By and By
  121. Rock in the Desert
  122. Room for the World
  123. Safe in the Glory Land
  124. Schindler
  125. Seek Ye First
  126. Send Out the Sunlight
  127. Shanghai
  128. Shepherd’s Fold on High, The
  129. Shining for Jesus
  130. Shout in the Camp, A
  131. Show Me the Rock
  132. Simple, Earnest Prayer, The
  133. Since I Found My Savior
  134. Sing Once More of Jesus
  135. Singing of Jesus
  136. Smile from Jesus, A
  137. Some Heart Has Gone This Way Before
  138. Speak for Jesus
  139. Sunshine in the Soul
  140. Standing on the Battlements
  141. Step into the Fountain
  142. Sweet Assurance
  143. Sweet Story of Jesus
  144. Take Courage
  145. Take the World, but Give Me Jesus
  146. Tasmania
  147. Tell It Out with Gladness
  148. Tell Me the Story of Jesus
  149. Tell the Blessèd Story
  150. Tell the Whole Wide World
  151. There’s a Blessing at the Cross for Me
  152. There’s a Hand Held Out
  153. There’s a Message from the Lord
  154. Thou Wilt Remember Me
  155. Thy Hope for Eternity
  156. Till the Boat Comes By
  157. ’Tis Summer in My Heart
  158. Uganda
  159. Unsearchable Riches
  160. Wait on the Lord
  161. Waiting for Me
  162. Waiting for the Promise
  163. Walking in the Good Old Way
  164. Walking with Jesus My Lord
  165. Washed White as Snow
  166. We All Can Do Good
  167. We Are Nearing
  168. What More Can He Do?
  169. When Each Others Face We See
  170. When Our Ships Come Sailing Home
  171. While the Years Are Rolling On
  172. Will There Be Any Stars?
  173. Will You Come?